Another Syracuse loss makes it 2 in a row following a 5 game win streak that seemed to pour hope back into the hearts of Orange fans. The 97-88 loss doesn’t look bad on paper, however if you look into the box score, things seem a bit more grim. Here’s a few takeaways from Saturday’s loss:
Inconsistent Shooting Leads to Losses
This team has sworn by the 3 ball all year long, so it’s no coincidence that when they get cold from distance the result isn’t a positive one. Syracuse scored just 6 shots from behind the arc on 26 tries, which comes to 23%. Not nearly good enough for a team that prides themselves on 3s. This isn’t a new phenomenon however, inconsistent shooting is something that’s plagued the Orange all year, especially from the point guard spot. Joe Girard has had a rough go of things lately. In his last 5 contests, the freshman is averaging just 11 PPG on 35% shooting, not to mention he hasn’t reached 20 points since SU’s matchup with Notre Dame in early January. If Girard were able to step up at this point in the season and provide the team with another reliable shooter, a tournament appearance would become inevitable.
Consistent Foul Trouble is Unsustainable
Foul trouble really impacted the contest on the home side. SU committed 25 fouls in the game, which counts for a season high. Marek Dolezaj, Buddy Boeheim and Joe Girard all finished the game in Foul trouble, while Bourama Sidibe and Quincy Guerrier only got to play about 20 minutes each, they both fouled out. A team can’t play confident basketball when almost the entire starting lineup falls into foul trouble, especially when going up against a team that has an incredibly talented big man like Vernon Carey Jr. Losing bigs to foul trouble was a death sentence against the Blue Devils.
Bourama Sidibe is Unreliable Against Talented Bigs
Vernon Carey Jr. could do whatever he wanted under the basket matched up against Sidibe. The Mali native was no use against Duke’s freshman phenom. Carey scored 26 points and grabbed a career high 17 boards in the win. The SU Junior collected 5 fouls in around 20 minutes, and landed on the bench for the rest of the game. On paper it didn’t seem like Sidibe had much of a chance anyway, Carey outweighs Sidibe by 60 pounds, they stand at the same height, but just using the eye test alone it’s clear the Carey was ready to put up big numbers against the Orange. He can score anywhere on the floor, under the basket, in the post or from three it doesn’t really matter, his scoring and rebounding ability ended up being crucial in the Duke victory.
SU’s heart is there, and so are some of the pieces, but overall this team might not have what it takes to win the big games. Unreliable/inconsistent play from big men, like Sidibe and 3-point shooters like Joe Girard keep the Orange from being where they need to be.